The SGF Insider Podcast’s “Plugged In” segment hosted by Executive Director Carrie Richardson met with outgoing board members of Leadership Springfield to discuss the bittersweet end of their time on the board and all the lessons they’ve learned. Continue reading for insights into community board service.
The outgoing board members are Larry Stock, Signature Class 1 (President and Owner of Peak Influence), Mandy Anthes, Signature Class 30 (Vice President and Director of Business Banking at Central Bank of the Ozarks), Monica Horton, Signature Class 36 (Councilwoman and CEO/Lead Consultant at Lenica Consulting Group), Krista Shurtz, Signature Class 38 (Director of Rates and Fuels at City Utilities of Springfield), Kathy Smith, Signature Class 30 (Office Coordinator at N-Form Architecture), and Tony Vienhage, Signature Class 36 (Captain in Criminal Investigations Division at the Springfield Police Department).
Carrie asked the outgoing members why they joined the Leadership Springfield board in the first place. Mandy and Kathy both applied to be the board class representative for Signature Class 30 but did not get chosen at that time and ended up serving the organization in various ways such as Signature Class advisor and committee members until they were invited to the board. “I didn’t want my experience to end!” recalled Mandy, “I really enjoyed getting to know the diverse members of the programs.” As a banker, Mandy says she networks with the same people all the time through work and that “there were people from industries I wouldn’t have been connected to” if not for Leadership Springfield. Kathy credits Mandy for reaching out and encouraging her to serve because it’s been a wonderful experience!
Larry graduated from Class 1 in 1985 and wasn’t involved with Leadership Springfield for 30 years but was approached and invited to join as an early alumnus approx. 7 years ago to bring his unique perspective to the board. He shared the value he’s found in serving on one board at a time to really focus on the work being done by the organization. Tony shared how board service was a personal and professional goal of his. “I saw all of the things Leadership Springfield could touch within the community and that’s what motivated me to apply for the board.” Monica emphasized the fact that she wanted a way to uplift others and their quality of living in Springfield. She found that through her board service and committee involvement with the program curriculum and DEI efforts. Monica also shared that it was really people that inspired her to serve. “I had a few folks I looked up to on the board…and who doesn’t want to follow after great leaders and pattern your own leadership potential after those you respect?”
The consensus from the board members is that they greatly value the community of Springfield and took the time to get involved with Leadership Springfield after their class experience whether that was through committees at first or their board experience. Each leader had a personal connection to their specific class that helped them stay connected to our mission and eventually move into board service.
The next topic of discussion involved the biggest lessons learned during their years of service. This group specifically served during a pivotal time in the organization. Between the pandemic, new programs, hiring full-time staff, and more, they navigated a lot of unique issues and growth over the last six years! Mandy remained thankful for the opportunities to learn about the ins and outs of the business world from a perspective outside her industry, navigating and leading teams, and how to overcome a fear of public speaking! Monica was reminiscent of important issues the board was talking about when she started: poverty rates were at 27% in 2015 and now they have decreased to 21%. She applauded the conversations Leadership Springfield is constantly having about community blue ribbons and red flags to “feel the heartbeat” of the community and connect leaders and resources using the Community Leadership Framework.
Krista shared her biggest lesson, “Quality of place and community improvement is a collective, intentional effort by the community. And it takes a lot of people, planning, and intention to have a good, safe, healthy, vibrant community.” Her time on the board enlightened her on how much work goes in behind the scenes to make Springfield a better place which she’s grateful for. Tony believed being involved with Leadership Springfield “opens you to those challenging questions and discussions”. He continued to reflect saying, “Some issues will hit home and give you the opportunity to learn what you can do to make a difference.”
Here are a few more memorable moments and valuable takeaways the group shared:
- Larry summed up his experience on the board by saying that “the more you give or contribute to things, the more you get out of it”.
- Tony recalled exploring the Springfield Underground during his program and gaining new insight and a broader perspective on the happenings of his hometown.
- Krista zoned in on the word ‘intention’ because it’s what ignites the spark that fuels the entire operation of Leadership Springfield.
To conclude the interview, Carrie asked the group if they had any advice for future board members and community leaders about serving their community. Monica and Krista brought up the importance of fully understanding an organization’s mission because the person of interest will actively represent the mission and embody the company’s identity as well. You must put yourself in a completely different mindset and prepare to juggle loads of things at once and consider the future of the organization. Being an active board member is truly an act of service, so time and patience are key. Kathy feels that leadership should be done selflessly, not expecting financial gain or any rewards in return, unless that reward is seeing the impact they’ve made.
Amazing, impactful, transformative, and enlightening, are just a few words the board members used to describe their experiences with Leadership Springfield.
We wish these community leaders happiness and prosperity in their future endeavors!